If you live in Mumbai, and know your Hendrix from your Hariprasad, it’s quite likely you would have seen a concert at the Blue Frog. If you know your pesto from your parmesan, it’s even more likely that you will dine at the Tote on the Turf.
The establishments differ in scope but offer path-breaking leisure experiences, underpinned by a highly evolved understanding of architecture’s contribution to the hospitality business.
Click here for a slideshow on Tote on the Turf and Blue Frog.
It’s no coincidence that both venues have been designed by Serie Architects, a partnership between Mumbai-based Kapil Gupta and London-based Chris Lee. The firm approaches spaces from the way they behave, not just their look and feel, ensuring that the design is fully integrated with the business concept.
Also Read Preview | Tote, Mumbai
“Our work is deeply contextual, and a very unique response to its brief and location. The Blue Frog has a plan like a restaurant and a section like an opera house to deliver a highly acoustic, yet very intimate viewing experience. At the Tote, we rethought the idea of heritage and context to create the incredible feeling of standing under the dappled light of a green canopy in an indoor environment,” says Gupta.
Global quality, local buzz
Blue Frog is a versatile 6,000 sq. ft space in post-industrial Lower Parel and simultaneously serves as a performance arena, nightclub, restaurant and bar. Guests are seated in circular pods, staggered at different levels in a horseshoe arrangement around the stage. This deceptively simple layout allows diners to enjoy the performance and their privacy, without encountering noisy bar-goers.
Tote is more ambitious at 27,000 sq. ft and exudes contemporary, handcrafted elegance inspired by its natural surroundings. White metal branches support the ceiling of the banqueting wing, bringing in the greenery of the Mahalaxmi Race Course and seamlessly binding the indoors and outdoors. With dedicated indoor and outdoor spaces for food, drinks and private gatherings, it can cater to 2,000 guests every day. The bar is a dramatic triple-height lounge with wooden panelling. By avoiding theme interiors, the restaurant is shielded from fluctuating fads.
The investment in architecture and design at both venues exceeds industry norms and might appear risky. However, given the promoters’ domain expertise, clarity on business model and attention to detail, my bet is that these two will last the course—without needing a facelift.
EU to make green law bigger
European Union (EU) nations have reached an agreement to broaden a law on green design by making manufacturers of building products, including windows and taps, adhere to more energy-efficient norms. “Many energy-related products have a significant potential for being improved in order to reduce environmental impacts and to achieve energy savings through better design,” says the revised law on environmentally conscious design, stressing that such rules can also save businesses and consumers money. The rules already apply to energy-using products, such as washing machines, freezers and hair-dryers. The new rules, still to be rubber-stamped, state that “Products used in construction such as windows, insulation materials or water-using products such as shower heads or taps” should also be designed with environmental savings in mind. AFP
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